Saying good-bye to my mother

The last time I talked to my mother was in 2014. I needed a break from Berkeley at the time. And Berkeley needed a break from me. So I spent 10 months living in this little town in Arizona where my little sister and my mother lived. So I got to have some kind of relationship with my mother while I lived there. It’s the only time in my adult life where I had any kind of relationship with my mother, really. Once or twice a month we’d get together for dinner at my sister’s house. Or we’d go out to lunch at Wendy’s. Or I’d run into her while my sister was running errands with her and stuff like that. And a couple times I had lunch with her and my sister at her house. . Our interactions were mostly pretty casual. And our talk was mostly small talk. I can’t actually remember anything that we said to each other during our conversations. I think because our past interactions had been so toxic, we were both happy to just keep things light and on the surface. So the talk was pretty much just blah blah blah. It was practically a miracle that we had reached the point where we were able to sit together in close proximity and make small talk. So neither of us were eager to try and push things any further, into any territory beyond that.

When it was time for me to move back to Berkeley, I packed up all my stuff, and my little sister gave me a ride to the Greyhound station in Tuscon. Half-way to the bus station I realized I hadn’t said good-bye to my mother. I’m not even sure she knew I was leaving. I hadn’t mentioned it to her. And I don’t think my little sister had mentioned it to her, either. . . For a second I considered calling her on my cellphone and saying good-bye. But somehow, there didn’t seem to be any point to doing that. So I just got on the Greyhound and headed back to Berkeley. And I never had any other interactions with my mother after that. She quietly passed away about six years later.

I’m not really sure what people mean when they talk about experiencing “closure.” I’ve never been particularly adept at that kind of stuff.

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